As part of my journey to becoming a top padel player, I recently went for a mobility evaluation session at the sports department of Fisiogestion in Barcelona. This was the first time I was doing something of this sort, although I’ve had osteopaths check out my body for specific issues I had in the past.
This time around, I went without having any niggling injuries or current pain points. I only mentioned that I’ve been feeling an abnormal sense of fatigue in my quads ever since I started playing padel, and that I also had a twitching tendon behind my right knee, which has been like that for as long as I can remember.
I was then examined by an osteopath as well as the therapist at the sports center, and they couldn’t really identify the reason for the twitching of the tendon, although the therapist mentioned that she felt that I had a case of baker’s cyst that might be causing the tendon to pass over the cyst and twitch. I would probably have to do an MRI to get more information on that or visit some other specialized doctors.
Going back to the fatigue in the quads though, when I was asked to do a squat, it turned out that the way I go down is incorrect. I tend to lean forward too much and double up while going down, placing all the weight of the task on my quads and lumbar region, and almost none of it on my glutes.
The therapist mentioned that the glutes are luckily some of the best muscles in which to see quick improvements, so it’s a case of re-educating my body to start using those glute muscles in the movements I do in daily life or padel. She emphasized that I need to be doing isolation exercises for the glutes and obliques (another area I’m weak in). Once the glutes can be properly activated and have some serious strength built, the body can be re-trained (they have special machines to help with this) to perform movements in a different and correct way.
I am now actively working on my core and glutes with my personal trainer in our sessions during the week, and on off-days, I like to use this set of resistance band glute exercises at home.
Another great set of exercises for glutes can be found on Bret Contreras’ (The Glute Guy) website.
All the above is just to say that it is crucial that you learn how to move correctly and address any mobility issues that you might have. This will not only help you play better and recover faster (you have no overstressed areas in your body) but will also help ward off injuries.
You can find lots of videos about mobility on YouTube, and you can also subscribe to programs such as GMB which aim to provide full-body mobility, but for me it’s been a great learning experience to visit a specialized sports center and have my padel-specific movements analysed. I will in fact continue to have regular sessions at this center to fix my glute-quad balance and I’m really looking forward to faster recovery between matches, because now that I’m training and playing almost daily, my quads have become my greatest impediment to performing at my best.